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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44924
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I had a flat roof replaced about 4 months ago. The contractor

Customer Question

I had a flat roof replaced about 4 months ago. The contractor seemed legit, and also gave me a 10 year guarantee which I have a copy of. The roof is now leaking pretty badly in 3 places and damaging goods in my garage. I have no where else to put these goods, and I have arthritis in my legs which means I cannot get to the roof to make a temporary repair. I have tried contacting the roofer on many occasions by telephone and email and had no response. I have sent him numerous text messages also. I would like to know how I begin legal action and what chance I have of recouping any costs of getting someone else to do the work as this may be my only choice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Have you had anyone come in to have a look at the work the original builder did?

JACUSTOMER-4mtlij11- :

Not yet

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready pelase

JACUSTOMER-4mtlij11- :

No problem

Ben Jones :

When you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the law says that the work must be:

  • Carried out with reasonable care and skill – i.e. to a proper standard of workmanship;
  • Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and
  • Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed).

In addition, any materials provided as part of the work must:

  • Match their description
  • Be of satisfactory quality

If there are problems with the standard of work, or the materials used, you will have certain rights.

If work has already been completed, and there has been some breach of contract by the other side, you would usually be expected to give them the opportunity to rectify the problem. However, if you can justify why they should not be given such an opportunity, for example, if work has been left in a dangerous condition or their work is obviously below-par, you could refuse to do so.

In terms of potential compensation, you may be entitled to that in the following circumstances:

  • The work was not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or finished within a reasonable time;
  • The tradesman has been negligent in their work;
  • You have accepted a repair, which turns out to be unsatisfactory;
  • The services are unsafe and someone has suffered injury
  • You have incurred additional expenses or suffered inconvenience because of the tradesman’s breach of contract.

In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally accepted that you follow these steps:

  1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. estimate, contract, correspondence, etc.).
  2. Contact the tradesman and explain your problem. Ask for a refund, a repair, or compensation and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).
  3. In the meantime find out if the tradesman is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve your complaint. If they are not, you may wish to obtain an expert opinion from an independent tradesman specialising in this field to back up your position.
  4. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the tradesman repeating your complaint and how you would like them to fix this. Say you are giving them a final 7 day time limit to resolve the problem or you will ask another tradesman to carry out the work and you intend to recover their costs from them. Advise them that you will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings to seek compensation.
  5. If the tradesman makes an alternative offer, you can either accept or continue to negotiate. Be reasonable and realistic in what you will accept. You may not get an improved outcome by going to court.
  6. If the tradesman fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you can get a different tradesman to complete the work and consider suing the original tradesman for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is your last resort and you will need sufficient evidence to prove your claim. Nevertheless, it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.
  7. Finally, make sure that you send all correspondence by recorded delivery and keep copies.

Your chances of succeeding in such a claim are unfortunately impossible to predict. No one knows what defence the trader may put forward or what the Judge may decide on the day. Also the fact that you win the case does not guarantee you payment. The trader may simply refuse to pay up and then it is up to you to try and enforce the court judgment you have received. This will inevitable result in further time and expenses as you try and find the best method of getting your money. This is always a risk with court claims and one you must be aware of before you start any legal proceedings.

JACUSTOMER-4mtlij11- :

So after all this how do I begin legal action? Small claims court?

Ben Jones :

yes that would be the venue you take this through, if you are simply looking for financial compensation then you may even make the claim online via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this?

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